This German doom metal-sextet was founded in 2008, and "Seven Chapters..." from 2012 is their second album-length release. The booklet and lyrics weren't included in the digital promo, as usual, so I can't comment them.
Spirit Descent plays rather epic, slow and atmospheric doom metal with occasional faster spurts. The songs range from five minutes long to the 13-minute epos "The Tragedy of Captain Scott," and from lighter and almost cheery spheres to desolation and depression. The album seems to be influenced by the pioneers of both heavy and doom metal, the first showing up through the lighter overall sound and guitar leads and the latter showing through the heavier distortion, slowly developing compositions and operatic vocals. The album has a lot of variance and it boldly reaches towards many aspects of what can be perceived as epic, even operatic, but doesn't seek help beyond the traditional band instruments. The band isn't afraid of creating minimalistic atmospheres, so perhaps there would be room for synths in their sound in the future?
The vocals are mostly clean and somewhat dramatic ones with the needed amount of range. They occasionally get to surprise the listener with a harsher note, but most often they sound Heavy Metal-esque, stylistically somewhere between A.A. Nemtheanga (Primordial) and Robert Lowe (Candlemass). They're not as strong, unique or touching, and they have a noticeable accent that slightly affects their melodies, but even so they're certainly on the right track. The vocalist has a lot of responsibility for the songs' drama and atmospheres, even in the sense that his vocals and their lyrics give the needed sense to the moments when one's pondering why some part is slow and droning, whereas the other is faster. Once again, I would've needed the lyrics to see deeper into the album's core.
The band employs a rather light guitar sound. Although it's a nice change from all the bass-heavy bands and suits the band's heavy metal-side, it isn't capable of giving the album the amount of dramatic lift and mass it would need to sound convincing. For example, the droning notes in the opening of "Love Turned to Stone" don't sound brooding or dramatic enough, but moreso lacking and a bit discordy. Also, there are parts which plain should've been rehearsed and refined further, such as the sort-of-jamming part around nine minutes into "The Tragedy..." and the calmer moments that follow. These are moments when the album loses its grasp of the listener; the atmospheres nor dramatic elements don't sound deep and massive enough, thus ending up sounding like silhouettes of what they're meant to be. The contrast between the finely build opener with its strong drive and the album's weakest moments is major. A less sharp and prominent drum-sound might've helped, too, as now its sound slightly disturbs the riffs' flow and melodies.
Spirit Descent clearly have a good amount of skill and vision to execute their craft, but this time they didn't manage to paint the atmospheres in a manner that's vivid nor interesting enough. The album is lengthy and has inconsistent quality, and the soundscape isn't the best possible either. The band promises a lot and shows they're eager to go further, and that they have an eye for how both touching and rocking songs are built, so I wouldn't be surprised at all if they'd manage to create a solid killer album in the future. It just wasn't yet their time to shine.